Australia’s Second Busiest Airport Prepares for the Future
9 December 2013 © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport Holdings (JAH) has commenced preliminary consultation for the Jandakot Airport 2014 Master Plan, which will include construction of a fourth runway and a new aviation precinct alongside runway 12/30.
JAH is required under the Airports Act 1996 to prepare a Master Plan every five years, involving significant consultation with key stakeholders including Federal, State and Local Governments, aviation users, the local community and interest groups. The Master Plan is a 20-year strategic vision for the airport that details how Jandakot Airport will be developed and operated.
Environmental and Aboriginal Heritage approvals are being progressed, but much of the work was already completed as part of the 2009 Master Plan.
Summary of key developments for the Jandakot Airport 2014 Master Plan (to be completed within five years):
- Fourth runway (12L/30R) to be constructed – length 990 metres, width 18 metres, able to take aircraft up to 5,700kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW).
- Runway extensions:
- Runway 12/30 (to be renamed 12R/30L) to be extended from 990 metres to 1508 metres.
- Runway 06L/24R to be extended from 1392 metres to 1600 metres.
- New dedicated aviation precinct (hangars, offices and aprons), parallel with the current runway12/30. This will increase aviation-related hangar and apron space at Jandakot by around 50%.
- New taxiways, associated with the fourth runway and the new aviation precinct. An additional taxiway to be added south west of runway 12/30 (12R/30L), between the runway and the aprons for new aviation Precinct 6A. The taxiways are designed to minimise aircraft time on the runway and reduce head-to-head aircraft conflicts.
- Changes to existing taxiways, associated with the new runway and the new aviation precinct. Taxiways T and V to runway 12/30 will close, as these are runway incursion hotspots. New taxiways will replace them.
- Access roads to the new precinct 6/6A.
- Extension of Berrigan Drive to join Orion Road, continuing around the current northern aviation precinct (i.e. past Heliwest). This will exit towards a new sporting/recreation complex being built near Canning Vale, on the north east side of the runway 24L/24R thresholds.
- JAH is performing around $50 million of construction work each year for the next 15 years, generating around 4000 full-time jobs.
The fourth runway was first proposed by the Federal Airports Corporation in 1993, when they owned Jandakot Airport. It was already included in the 2009 Jandakot Airport Master Plan, and the design is now being amended prior to construction.
The new runway will be 18 metres wide by 990 metres in length, able to take aircraft up to 5,700kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW). It will not have runway lighting, being for touch and go circuit training in daylight, VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions) only.
JAH is keen to proceed with construction as soon as possible. After the few remaining approvals are received, 1.5 million cubic metres of sand will need to be removed before construction of the fourth runway can commence. The runway itself could be constructed as soon as 2017.
Currently, runway 12/30 is only used if there is a crosswind of 12 knots or more on the other two runways. Upon completion of the fourth runway, a safer crosswind limit of 10 knots will trigger use of runway 12/30 which is consistent with CASA’s Class D Airspace procedures for general aviation airports. Usage of runway 12/30 is expected to increase from 15% currently, to 25% after the new runway is opened.
Jandakot Airport capacity and noise footprint
Aircraft movements data indicates that roughly 87% of Jandakot’s movements are fixed wing aircraft and 13 % are helicopters. This ratio has remained fairly constant over the last few years.
Total movements have decreased by around 38% since 2006, mainly attributed to decreased flying associated with the global economic downturn. Jandakot was the busiest airport in Australia for a few years, but is now the second busiest after Sydney Airport. Approximately 80% of all Jandakot movements are for pilot training activities.
Jandakot’s ultimate capacity is 526,004 annual fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft movements, and JAH forecasts that this will be reached within the 20 year planning horizon.
As part of a wider review of airspace management in the Perth area, Airservices Australia have commenced consultation on a new SID (Standard Instrument Departure) design for Jandakot, which should reduce delays for flights to the south west of WA. The new SIDs should be introduced in stages from late 2014.
Whilst the noise exposure footprint has been expanded slightly by the fourth runway, the noise exposure modelling has been improved since the 2009 Master Plan, with more accurate noise modelling for helicopters. Some of the increase in noise footprint is therefore attributed to the more accurate noise modelling technique.
The location of the fourth runway means that the NDB (Non Directional Beacon) and windsock will need to be relocated to a spot west of the thresholds of runway 06L/24R and 12R/30L. Some aviation operators have queried the need for an NDB – being old technology, most aircraft do not use it. However, Airservices Australia noted that some Jandakot-based aircraft and others elsewhere still make use of it and GA training organisations still include NDB training as part of their curriculum and expect this to continue for up to ten years.
Urban encroachment and access roads
Aviation operators have become increasingly worried about urban development edging closer to the airport boundary over the years. One Jandakot-based aviation operator noted that the original 1960s plan for Jandakot included a requirement that no development could occur within 3 nautical miles of Jandakot, and local councils have gradually eroded that buffer zone with new housing and commercial developments.
An example of this is a new residential development proposed at the former Banjup quarry site. This will include 4800 residences and a retirement village. JAH has warned the City of Cockburn that this will be within the circuit path for training flights and the site is directly within the airport’s noise footprint. The City of Cockburn has imposed additional requirements on the Banjup Quarry Redevelopment that includes advising people of the aircraft noise impact area through notification on land titles and noise impact area signage, and requiring building noise attenuation design features. Aviation operators still have concerns that this will result in increased noise complaints, leading to political pressure to restrict aviation operations.
There are additional concerns that the JAH’s plans to extend Berrigan Drive to Orion Road will lead to ‘rat running’ – people driving through Jandakot Airport estate and clogging up roads, in order to avoid the daily traffic jams on Roe Highway near Kwinana Freeway. Whilst there are future plans to widen the freeway on-ramps, there may be traffic issues in the interim.
Feedback from the preliminary consultation will be considered and incorporated into the 2014 Master Plan draft, which is to be released for public consultation during March – June 2014. Feedback from the public consultation period will then be incorporated in an amended draft during July 2014.
The 2014 Master Plan will then be submitted to the Federal Government for approval. Once approval is received in late 2014, implementation (and construction) will commence immediately.